Classic Maine Lobster Roll

Classic Maine Lobster Roll II

When I first moved to Maine many years ago, Brooklyn girl that I was, I thought a lobster roll was a Chinese egg roll made with lobster instead of shrimp.

Clearly, I have come a long way in 29 years.

A true Maine lobster roll is a celebration of summer, and the lobster is not meant to compete with other ingredients.  This is where many a cook has strayed—adding an assortment of things, in various shades of green and otherwise – aromatic herbs, shredded iceberg lettuce, olives, capers, and even more horrifyingly, stuff like chipotles and mango, all in the vein of making it better. This misses the point – a lobster roll is all about the lobster and nothing else.

Well, maybe just adding a small amount of finely chopped celery is okay (so says my former cooking student Marcia).

Lobster Salad for Lobster Rolls II

And, maybe just a few chives on top for contrast (if you need to take a picture, ehem).  To bind the lobster together, only a bit of mayonnaise is required, and my favorite is Stonewall Kitchen’s Farmhouse Mayo – flavorful and seasoned with enough salt that I find I don’t need to add any more.

Classic Maine Lobster Roll with Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Mayo II

Lastly, the griddled New England-style hot dog roll is part of the charm, and honestly something I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to until discovering the sturdier, larger and made from scratch version baked by Mainly Grains in South Portland.

Mainly Grains Hot Dog and Lobster Roll Buns II

Friends, my lobster roll game is strong, because, what I really want is a roll that can hold MORE lobster not less!

Ready to griddle lobster roll II

These rolls only need to be gently sliced apart, revealing their beautiful sides perfect for buttering and griddling, which results in a perfectly crispy-sided warm roll ready to pile high with lobster.

Griddled Rolls Ready for Lobster II

Since Mainly Grains’ rolls are a bit bigger than the conventional grocery store versions, you may get only 3 very generously stuffed rolls compared to 4 conventional rolls.  Keep that in mind…don’t sneak too many tastes of that lobster while prepping…or you won’t have enough for the rolls!  Which brings me to:

The best and most efficient time to make lobster rolls is the day after a traditional lobster bake or boiled/steamed lobster dinner.  Toss a few extra lobsters in to boil/steam, let cool, refrigerate overnight, remove the meat and try to keep a few pieces of claw meat intact for an eye-catching, tantalizing garnish (but if you can’t, no big deal, use a little dollop of extra mayo with a sprinkle of paprika instead).  Slice the tail meat in half length-wise and cut into chunks.  Try not to eat said chunks.  You know what I mean.

Classic Maine Lobster Rolls II

Other than Bite Into Maine’s lobster roll, which I enjoy at Fort Williams Park during the summer, the recipe below is my new favorite lobster roll.  It’s easy to make these fat and pudgy rolls at home (a generous ¼-lb to 1/3-lb lobster each, depending on the size of the roll).  Give it a try – I sincerely hope you do!  Serve with sides of coleslaw, potato chips and hopefully a dose of sunshine.

And, of this, I am quite certain — it is The Way a Lobster Roll Should Be.



Classic Maine Lobster Roll II

This post was written in partnership with Kennebunkport Resort Collection, a group of luxury and boutique hotels and restaurants in Kennebunkport, Maine.  While I was compensated for this story and photographs, it’s 100% my opinion and personality and eagerness to make you a better cook with Maine ingredients!

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Classic Maine Lobster Roll
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The classic Maine lobster roll is easy to replicate at home once you know how. How many rolls you can make from this recipe will depend on the size of the roll -- but plan on 3 to 4.
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: New England
Serves: 3 to 4 servings
  • 1 pound (or slightly more) cooked lobster meat, keeping 4 of the claw meat intact for garnish
  • ¼ cup finely minced celery
  • ¼ cup best-quality mayonnaise (I prefer Stonewall Kitchen’s Farmhouse Mayo), plus additional to garnish (only if you didn’t get the claw meat out in one piece!)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I literally just squeeze a few drops on the lobster)
  • Sea salt, only if necessary and finely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 best quality New England-style hot dog rolls (see note below)
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons very soft salted butter
  • Optional, but good:
  • Paprika, to garnish
  • A few finely minced chives
  1. In a medium bowl, lightly combine the lobster, celery, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Taste first, seasoning with salt only if necessary and lightly with pepper. Chill until ready to use, but no more than 8 hours in advance.
  2. When ready to serve, place a griddle or a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Spread both sides of the rolls with the butter and cook each side until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side (check your first roll, I found the bakery rolls browned faster, and it only took slightly more than a minute per side).
  3. Fill and mound each roll with the lobster mixture—they will be quite full. Garnish the top of each with a piece of claw meat, or place a little dollop of mayonnaise on top of each roll and sprinkle it with a smidge of paprika. Serve immediately.
About the rolls: The rolls I use are a bit larger than the conventional grocery store New England-style hot dog rolls, so you may be able to make 4 to 5 rolls if you choose the conventional style. Hot dog rolls from a bakery are usually a bit bigger and will yield a lower quantity (but higher quality!).


Published on June 17, 2015
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  1. Love seafood and I’m definitely going to try this one!

  2. This looks fantastic, perfect for summer gatherings!

  3. I lived in Maine as a little girl and lobster rolls will always have a special place in my heart! Yours look so wonderful. This would be a perfect summer backyard meal!

  4. Barbara,
    I’ve had 2 memorable lobster rolls in my life and consider myself lucky to have had them. The lobster roll is an excellent combination of flavors and textures, and yours looks beautiful.

  5. I love lobster. I live in Denver which has no oceans close by so it’s pricey. Which means I am currently jealous beyond belief; this sandwich would be pure Heaven!

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